Quick Hit Movie Reviews #9: '10 Cloverfield Lane' & More...


In the #9 edition of the Quick Hit Movie Reviews feature, Eclectic Pop reviews three very different films. This strange range of movie reviews might seem as far disconnected as you can imagine. However, if you consider that each movie is about how a single person changes the course of the lead character’s life, an odd connection develops between them. 

In “10 Cloverfield Lane,” a young woman’s reality is questioned by a stranger who claims he has saved her from the apocalypse. In “The Family Fang,” a pair of siblings reluctantly reunite with their eccentric parents, who go missing shortly thereafter.

While in “While We’re Young” a man encounters a supposed fan of his work, and slowly begins changing to keep up with his sycophant. Each character has their world shaken by another. Time to review "10 Cloverfield Lane," "The Family Fang," and "While We're Young."

“10 Cloverfield Lane” (2016)

“10 Cloverfield Lane” is hands down one of the best thrillers of 2016, and one of the year’s few standout films, period. Not to be confused with the unmitigated disaster that was the found footage, sleeper hit from which it takes its name, “10 Cloverfield Lane” offers a well-crafted reprieve from the frantic mayhem of that venture. 

A straight-up thriller, “10 Cloverfield Lane” benefits from a lean cast, a riveting pace, and an engrossing script that shines with every methodical twist and turn. Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as the survivor of car crash, who awakens in a fallout shelter. 

Told by her gruff savior (a spectacular John Goodman) that they and one other man are the sole survivors of a nuclear attack, Winstead’s wary heroine begs to differ. So who is telling the truth? The ride to discovering the answer is as gripping as they come. Rating: 8.8/10

[Image by Akiko Stehrenberger for P+A/Starz Digital]

“The Family Fang” (2015)

A funny and oftentimes melancholic look at a dysfunctional family. “The Family Fang” begins as an off-beat comedy before taking a dark detour into far more “meta” terrain. Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman star as siblings, who are not only bound together by blood, but their shared childhood spent enduring blistering growing pains at the whim of their idiosyncratic parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett).

Their parents are a pair of performance artists, whose public rendering of shock-and-awe sight gags had steered both kids into the spotlight. Where “The Family Fang” sets itself apart, is in its finesse as an indie that asks tough questions about showbiz, art, and family. “The Family Fang” probes its 
themes with a poignancy that is hard to come by, making it all the more memorable. Rating: 7.6/10

“While We’re Young” (2014)

A strange look at youth, truth and the pseudo-intellectual; “While We’re Young” is writer/director Noah Baumbach’s uneven and lovingly crafted re-team with “Greenberg” star Ben Stiller. Stiller stars alongside Naomi Watts, as a successful, married couple, whose professional and personal lives, have hit a stalemate. When they meet a young newlywed couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried); their existence is exponentially enlivened and their bond, stringently tested. 

[Image by A24]
A documentarian who has been feverishly toiling away on his passion project for years, Josh (Stiller) becomes obsessed with finishing it, thanks to the cheap flattery of Jamie (Driver), a sycophantic opportunist, who works to maneuver Josh's ambition for his own ends. Overwhelmed by the positive attention, Josh begins doing whatever it takes to maintain his acolyte’s happiness, and the result is cataclysmic comedy.

“While We’re Young” is not a perfect film. It is an engaging one, save the scene of drug-experimentation. Stiller’s frenetically frustrated protagonist is a great outlet for his talents, and he bounces off of Driver, and Watts, with aplomb. 

Adam Driver and Watts are equally as essential, each doing their part to bolster the film. “While We’re Young” is a bit too hipster at times, though it is more amusing than most films of its kind. There is an air of mystery to “While We’re Young,” although its eviscerating look at truth and consequences, can come off jaded. In all, “While We’re Young” will leave you thinking. Rating: 7/10

[Featured Image by A24/Kevin M. Wilson (Paramount Pictures)/Starz Digital]

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